Galatians 1 New Living Translation (NLT) Greetings from Paul
1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.
2 All the brothers and sisters[a] here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.
In all of Paul's letters, he always starts with a greeting that has impact. Notice above, he doesn't just say 'hey, I am writing to you" He makes it clear that this is very important.
3 May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ[b] give you grace and peace. 4 Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.5 All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.
Paul refers to the evil in this world that we live. In such a short time after the death of Jesus Christ, isn't it sad that He already has to remind people that Jesus came to rescue us and that this world is evil. It sounds just like our world today. His followers are being connected with the death of Christ for the forgiveness of sins, just as we make and need that same connection today.
There Is Only One Good News
6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ.[c] You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
False prophets and bad theology was already spreading as Paul so clearly outlines above. People are turning away from Christ and all his Mercy. So many are pretending to share the Good News. He is warning his people not to be fooled by those that twist the truth. I think many of us know someone who has been fooled, or we know someone who is himself twisting the truth to bend to their own personal "gospel". We need to continually be wary of this and consider ourselves warned. Heck, even Jewish tradition, such as circumcision was considered false truth. The Jewish Law is not what brings salvation, but that was what was being falsely taught to so many early Christians.
8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
Paul clearly states that whoever is preaching a false doctrine should be cursed or be under God's eternal punishment. It doesn't matter who you are, even an angel from Heaven should not preach anything different that the true Good News as it was taught to us by Jesus Christ himself.
10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Paul is not trying to make friends here, that is for sure. He doesn't care if he pleases anyone at all. He just wants to make sure he is pleasing God himself.
You can not effectively spread the message of Jesus Christ if you are more concerned with what others think of you than what God desires from you.
Paul’s Message Comes from Christ
11 Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. 12 I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.[d]
Paul is telling us here how he was chosen, sent, set apart by God. In the same way we are. God has revealed to him what his life is to be. He had a directed revaluation and was changed in an instant. The moment any of us receives Jesus Christ in our heart, we are completely changed. Paul is just a shining example of this.
13 You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. 14 I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors.
Here Paul reminds the reader of his old ways. He used to persecute and kill the early Christians. He did everything he could to destroy the church. He knew the Jewish law very well and followed it.
15 But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him 16 to reveal his Son to me[e] so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.
When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being.[f] 17 Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus.
18 Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter,[g] and I stayed with him for fifteen days. 19 The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord’s brother. 20 I declare before God that what I am writing to you is not a lie.
Paul is describing a little bit about how he learned so much in s short time. In a period of three years he was given marvelous grace. He went to Jerusalem and got to know Peter and stayed for 15 days. Can you imagine how much you can learn from Peter. To hear the story of Jesus Christ from someone that started the church for him? He also spent quite a bit of time with James. Wow, the brother of Jesus. Now there is a teacher, if you can't be with Christ himself. God was obviously setting Paul up for greatness. He just didn't know it at the time.
21 After that visit I went north into the provinces of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And still the churches in Christ that are in Judea didn’t know me personally. 23 All they knew was that people were saying, “The one who used to persecute us is now preaching the very faith he tried to destroy!” 24 And they praised God because of me.
Because of the way that Paul was converted and the teaching he received. Word spread throughout the land. He was preaching a Faith and Grace that had to be true because it happened to him. People were praising God because of Paul. This is the ultimate proof that God can use us all. We just have to be true to the real Gospel as it has been taught by Jesus Christ himself. True salvation not man's idea of salvation.
Please feel free to leave your comments and we can have discussion on any of this. Tomorrow, I will tackle chapter two.